It's a waiting game for budget-strapped Philadelphia, as leaders await word if the town hall, which collapsed this weekend, will be covered by insurance.
Mayor John Drinnon said the city does not have a lot of fiscal wiggle room with an annual operating budget of $80,000-$85,000.
"Most of that money is used on day-to-day operations during the course of the year," he said. "... We have to watch every dollar and every dime."
After meeting with the city's insurance adjustor Monday afternoon, Drinnon said he is apprehensive.
"I felt from his tone that he had serious doubts about whether or not the collapse would be covered by our insurance, so I'm very apprehensive about it at this point, but once again there is nothing certain," Drinnon said. "It will be up to the insurance company to make that decision after they receive his reports and then the engineer's reports if they do decide to hire" an engineer for analysis.
"Of course, I'm concerned about budgetary issues because we are on a very, very tight budget," Drinnon added. "I don't see us having any extra funding at this point in our budget to do any demolition or reconstruction. We will have to play it by ear and wait it out and see what the insurance does and then once we had a chance to meet together as city council (and) make a determination where we will go from there."
The building collapsed Saturday afternoon after heavy rains weakened the structure, officials said, causing the metal roof to cave. Officials said no one was in the building during the collapse, but the building is a total loss.
"We are working on budgeting right now," Drinnon said. "In our current juncture, we have no monies budgeted for that kind of situation like we are facing right now, so everything is in limbo."
Rains continued after Saturday's collapse, causing further damage inside. Drinnon said important documents were safely retrieved.
"We went down yesterday, a few of us, and kind of surveyed the building and made sure it was safe to get in, and a few of our key players got out some filing cabinets and the safe and moved those to a secure location, but other than that nothing else has been removed from the building," Drinnon said during a phone interview Monday.
"We did get the safe out yesterday," he added. "The rest of the building was an open building where community events happened. They had tables and chairs and a little concession area."
Drinnon and Alderman Shane McGinnis said the collapse doesn't just strain Philadelphia's budget. The two-story building housed city recorder, mayor and fire chief offices and a Rural/Metro post. A variety of activities and clubs, in addition to Philadelphia City Council meetings, were also held in the circa-1951 building.
"And then the local Ruritan met there, and the Girl Scouts met there," Drinnon said. "Lots of city functions went on right there. It was really the center point of Philadelphia life, really. It is quite devastating, and it's unfortunate, but I feel like there will be enough resolve in our community to pull together and get through this and move forward."
"There is no paid positions with the councilmen, so it's all volunteer help," McGinnis said. "Fire department is volunteer. Everybody has to have a day job. Everyone pitches in and tries to help as they can. That's what kind of brings the community together."
With Philadelphia Ruritan Club displaced, Treasurer Sara Galyon said the club will find other venues.
"It's a terrible thing for the community, but it couldn't be helped," Galyon said. "It's just one of those things that happens to old buildings."
The building had actually been condemned after an inspection three weeks ago, Drinnon said.
"We've noticed after all the recent rains that the north side wall had began to separate from the roof trusting system, so three weeks ago after having it inspected ... I decided to ask Rural/Metro to vacate the building," Drinnon said. "I closed the building down because I felt there was some safety issues then."
Drinnon said an interim meeting place for council has yet to be determined.
"We are hoping that Philadelphia Elementary School will allow us to use their building," Drinnon said.
A new roof was installed last year after the previous one was damaged by hail.
"Some folks felt like that the new roof may help some of the structural issues in the building, but apparently it didn't," Drinnon said.